THE WANDERING DEAD
Much has been made of late about the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.
There have been movies as well as two successful television shows, one British and the other American. It may seem curious to readers and watchers of Sherlock Holmes that the original author, Arthur Conan Doyle, had a spiritual as well as a practical side.
In his own biography Doyle does state, not only an interest in the possibility of the living being able to communicate with the dead, but a genuine belief that it was indeed something that could be done in his own time.
Doyle believed that there were people with the aptitude to get in touch with those who have crossed over. He was also aware of fakes, people pretending to have such an ability.
After the First World War there were many people looking for closure. Doyle was one of them. Men blown apart on the battlefield were without bodies to bury. Hence it was difficult for the loved ones of some of the then newly dead to move on with their own lives. It was thought that being able to say farewell would help.
Unfortunately for Doyle, as far as we know, he never did find someone who could truly connect him with those who have crossed over.
The recent American television show The Walking Dead has captured what it would be like if reanimated corpses out to eat the living really were a growing menace in our world.
The idea of the walking dead as a problem that has to be dealt with, however, dates back to at least the 1930s. It is touched upon in the movie Things to Come which was scripted by H. G. Wells and based upon one of his novel concerning a possible future for humanity.
In the television show The Walking Dead it is not known in the first couple of seasons of the show what exactly happened to create the creatures that menace. In Things to Come the creatures are an offshoot of a war that has gone on for far too long.
Most cities in our world have their stories of wandering spirits. There are stories connected with the Bloody Tower in London and the London bridge that collapsed.
There are places in England where, at certain times of the year, phantom battles are waged between armies of round-heads and cavaliers.
There are also places were phantom Romans march across phantom Roman roads.
In some parts of the world, especially in East Asia, miniature homes are made for the spirits to live in so that they will not enter the abodes of the living. Also it is believed that the dead feed on pleasant odors and these, too, are provided.
In Europe it is thought to be inviting trouble to bury anyone near a crossroads. It is thought that the spirit of the dead person might get confused as to what direction to walk in and they wander about aimlessly rather than find their way to the afterlife.
In New York there are stories connected to the old slave trade. Apparently before New Yorkers gave up slavery they were rather brutal to their slaves. They were in fact more cruel than those into slavery down south.
When New Yorkers reformed and the owning of slaves was no longer considered the right thing to do the slave owners, generally speaking, did not free their slaves but sent them south into further captivity.
New South Wales, Australia and in particular its major city, Sydney, also have their fair share of ghost tales.
Just imagine a swimming pool just for the dead. There is one at Ramsgate, in NSW, Australia south of Sydney.
At Bathurst, also in NSW only in the heart of sheep country, there are trees that were once used for the hanging of criminals. They are said to be haunted.
At an old hotel near the train station at Bathurst a pregnant woman was stabbed to death and her money stolen. This was in the days of coach and horse travel. Legend has it the woman still haunts the hotel at night looking for her money and also her killer.
The dead inhabit old cemeteries. Cities tend to re-invent themselves over time and so old cemeteries can become something else.
Central Station, Sydney, NSW is based on an old cemetery. For the most part the living have forgotten but the dead remember. Platform 24 and 25 are a favorite haunt. Back when the tunnels were made coffins were unearthed.
The town hall in Sydney is based on an even older cemetery. A cemetery dating back to the days of the convicts. There is still a place of worship near the town hall. Behind it there was once a hospital.
After the summer of 1969-1970 Ramsgate Baths was pulled down. Built in the 1920s, It was a marvelous place to go in summer. I still remember the swimming, the laughter, the strange arcade with the fortune teller machine and the distorting mirrors. The fortune teller machine was of a similar make to the fortune teller machine in the American movie, BIG. There was a shop where you could buy the most wonderful banana fritters rolled in icing sugar. Some mention of this place is made in my novel, Ghost Dance (smashwords).
Ramsgate Baths helped a lot of people to find a reason to live during the Great Depression. It was a family place but also a place where a fellow could take his girlfriend. It was the closest thing to Luna Park in the south and, during its hey day, had many visitors.
For the most part, the living have forgotten the old Ramsgate Baths but the soul of the old baths remains. It is where the spirits holiday. Nothing good should ever vanish completely while we the living as well as the dead can remember.
The old Ramsgate Baths continue as phantom baths while there are spirits around that do remember.
All this is part of the not so lively but thoroughly interesting history and present times of NSW, Australia.
Check out my novels Disco Evil and Ghost Dance for a truly haunting time. Available through Amazon USA. Also look for me on Smashwords.
Also there is now my new novel, Desk Job, to consider in terms of the spirits of the dead. In this new novel we learn about the ghosts of the south coast of NSW and visit at least one fun spot for a particular newly made dead person.
The ghosts in Desk Job are not all serious. Some are actually quite mischievous with a somewhat warped sense of humor.
More by this Author
Australian Propaganda from convict origins, to outlaws, to World War One, to populate or perish. Racism, Reverse Racism, sexism, loose lips sink ships, Muslims, Christians, bikinis, The Simpsons, USA
King Arthur, Robin Hood, Napoleon, Magna Carta, James Bond, Biggles, The Magnificent Seven, John Wayne, Billy Jack, Islamic State, Gotham, Black Friday, Spin City, Freemasonry, Walt Disney, Cricket
Standing tall and one person making a difference has long been part of the American identity. In propaganda terms it has been useful. Can one person really make a difference? John Wayne and Vietnam.